Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

“Since re-living of trauma often occurs in the form of physical sensations, which, in turn, precipitate intense trauma-related emotions of terror and helplessness, learning how to manage and uncouple physical sensations from trauma-based emotions has emerged as one of the essential aspects of the effective treatment of PTSD. Pat Ogden (originator of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy) is the undisputed master of teaching clinicians how to work with physical sensations to help people beyond their trauma. For me, her work has opened up a whole new dimension of effective therapy.” -Bessel van der Kolk, MD, Editor of Traumatic Stress

History of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

In the early 1970s, while working as a technician and yoga/dance teacher at a short-term psychiatric hospital, Pat Ogden became interested in the correlation between her clients’ disconnection from their bodies, their physical patterns and their psychological issues. Before the Diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), Dr. Ogden recognized first-hand the way in which many of her patients were at the mercy of reliving the past, and that current treatment methods only seemed to trigger traumatic reminders. Recognizing the link between the body and psychological issues, she began to form the foundations of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy® by joining somatic therapy and psychotherapy into a comprehensive method for healing this disconnection between body and mind. In 1981, after co-founding the Hakomi Institute, pioneered by Ron Kurtz, Dr. Ogden founded her own school, a branch of the Hakomi Institute, which is known today as the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute (SPI).

What is Sensorimotor Psychotherapy?

“Only one therapy I know of reaches as deeply into the body as it does into the mind, and by reaching for both, touches the soul.” -Ron Kurtz, Founder of the Hakomi Method, on Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy is a body-centred psychotherapy that makes it possible for clients to discover the habitual and automatic attitudes, both physical and psychological, by which they generate patterns of experience. This gentle therapy teaches clients to follow the inherently intelligent processes of body and mind to promote healing. It is particularly helpful in working with the effects of trauma and abuse, emotional pain, and limiting belief systems. Through the use of simple experiments, unconscious attitudes are brought to consciousness where they can be examined, understood, and changed. A synthesis of somatic therapy and the Hakomi Method of Body-Centred Psychotherapy developed by Ron Kurtz in the 1980’s, and from which it evolved, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy has gained international acclaim. 

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